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s.Oliver Würzburg suffers 85:92 defeat at the hands of RASTA VECHTA

Würzburg, 04-27-2019

Both Head Coaches were without key players in front of around 3,000 spectators in the s.Oliver Arena on Saturday: Vechta was missing its playmaker and MVP candidate TJ Bray due to injury, while Würzburg rested its slightly injured top scorer Jordan Hulls for the second and deciding leg of the FIBA Europe Cup final against Dinamo Sassari this Wednesday. Before the tip-off, Würzburg’s cauldron erupted into thunderous applause when it was announced that the 29-year-old “Sniper from Indiana” had extended his contract and would stay with the club until at least the end of the 2020/2021 season.

Denis Wucherer could have done with his top scorer, especially in the first half: The home side lacked its shooting accuracy over large stretches up to the break, was also not uncompromising and focused enough in defense, and so soon slipped behind. Everything only went like clockwork in the opening three minutes: After Vechta’s top scorer Austin Hollins opened the scoring with a bucket from downtown, Würzburg produced a run of 11 points without reply to force Vechta’s Head Coach Pedro Calles to call his first timeout with his side trailing by 11:3.

What then occurred on court up to half-time was, to cite Denis Wucherer after the game, unacceptable: “What happened after our good start is neither explicable nor excusable. I expect far more presence, and also more quality, from my players in front of our own fans.” The visitors managed to equalize in the space of two minutes (12:12 in the 5th minute) and then opened up a 18:27 gap before the end of the first period thanks to two threes by Robin Christen and Clint Chapman. The start of the second quarter saw Vechta add its third three in succession, once more through Christen.

After a 14:0 run straddling the periods enabled the club from Lower Saxony to surge 18:35 in front, Wucherer called a timeout in the 13th minute, but his talk did not change anything for the time being – on the contrary: A further bucket from beyond the arc by the new German international Philipp Herkenhoff gave RASTA its highest lead in the encounter (28:50 in the 19th minute). The first half ended with the score at 33:52.

The players of s.Oliver Würzburg came out after the break as if completely transformed: From the 31st minute on, they played with great fight and far more focus, were able to reduce the deficit point by point, and so soon got the home fans back behind them. A three by Skyler Bowlin in the 27th minute cut the gap to single digits (53:62) and the home side managed to draw closer by the end of the third period (62:69).

Würzburg continued its comeback in the final quarter: Thanks to an 8:0 run, Florian Koch, Brad Lösing and Xavier Cooks managed to put their side narrowly ahead by 70:69 in the 32nd minute. However, the visitors’ accuracy in the shooting department meant that was not enough for victory: Three buckets from outside by Austin Hollins, one from Josh Young and another from Philipp Herkenhoff sealed the win for Vechta in crunch time. All in all, RASTA Vechta drained a total of 61 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.

After Skyler Bowlin put the home side back ahead with a three in the 36th minute (80:78), Hollins and Young buried three successive threes to make it 81:87. s.Oliver Würzburg continued to try all it could, but was no longer able to make any decisive dent in its opponents in the final two minutes and so reward itself for the strong comeback. Philipp Herkenhoff made the final score 85:92 with the last three of the game with 13.4 seconds left on the clock.

Denis Wucherer commented:

“What happened in the 15 minutes after we led 11:3 at the start is inexplicable and also inexcusable. The way we played in that spell was unacceptable. I expect far more presence, and also more quality, from my players in front of our own fans. All of Vechta’s players did their bit to win this game, despite the fact they were missing their best man. Not all of us managed to pitch in and so enable us to turn the game around at the end, although the chances were there. I’m also not surprised about the second half, as our morale is fine – unfortunately, we lack the quality here and there.”